Interview with Michael Namingha

Your photographic manipulations mainly focus on landscapes, what do you tend to explore in landscapes?

I was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, so much of my work has focused on the rapidly changing landscapes of the American West due to oil and natural gas extraction.

You are creating these unique, three-dimensional shapes for a two-dimensional image of a photograph, can you tell us about the importance this plays spatially for your work?

I wanted to take photographs outside the realm of a rectangle or a square. I was inspired by opera set design, observing how set designers skew a set to trick the eye. How do you feel it alters the space that your work is presented in? My images allow the viewer to engage with the work differently by moving around the image it alters the perspective of the work. How does it alter the landscape represented in the two-dimensional image? The landscapes become much more abstract and sometimes unrecognizable. Which is happening to the landscapes physically.

Michael Namingha/Black Place 1, 2019

Michael Namingha/Black Place 1, 2019

Your work ‘‘Black Place’’ is conceived in reference to Georgia O’Keefe’s homonym series. How do you feel like your work explores the gap between these two mediums, painting and photography?

Georgia O’Keeffe’s work has recorded that landscape with her paintings. So I wanted to bring a new perspective to that same place without repeating what she had already done. I used a drone to create these images which offered a different perspective of that same landscape. There is also a sculptural element to my photographs that was not necessarily intentional. 

What do you think about today's art world? What does an ideal art world look like to you?

It’s changing quickly with the internet and social media. I think it is becoming more accessible. Some artists are gaining traction in a space that would have been much harder to crack a few years ago. I think more transparency would be nice.

You have many works in public collections, how you feel about that? It never hurts to have your work in a cultural institution. Is this different from exhibiting your work in an exhibition?

It depends, but being exhibited or collected by an institution is usually a good thing for an artist.

This interview is a part of our Public Support section, dedicated to our Kickstarter supporters.